Ice Dogs head into bye with another win

FAIRBANKS—The Fairbanks Ice Dogs advanced another game atop the North American Hockey League’s West Division with a 3-1 victory over the Kenai River Brown Bears Saturday night at the Big Dipper Ice Arena.

The win pushes the Ice Dogs to 30-12-2 in the West Division and seven points ahead of the two teams in second place, the Wenatchee Wild and Alaska Avalanche.

Saturday’s game got off to a slow start. The Brown Bears put up the only score in the first two periods at the 17:35 mark of the first. Chris Rial scored on a pass from Brett Lubanski and Brad Duwe.

“It was just one of those games,” Ice Dogs coach Josh Hauge said. “I thought we played flat in the first period, and in the second we played pretty hard. We just couldn’t finish.”

Heading into the final period down 1-0, the Ice Dogs had to get something going.

“We finally got one with about five minutes left,” Hauge said, “and then we really started going. Better late than never, huh?”

Preston Hodge scored an unassited goal at the 15:08 mark of the third period to knot the game.

Alec Hajdukovich pushed Fairbanks over the top with a power play goal assisted by Jared Linnell.

“That was a huge goal, obviously the difference in the game,” Hauge said of the Fairbanks native’s game winner. “Alec guaranteed that he’d get one if his jersey sold for $1,000, and it did, so he did.”

The Ice Dogs were wearing throwback Alaska Gold Kings jerseys for the second straight night, and between periods, Ice Dogs general manager Rob Proffitt was auctioning the players’ shirts. Hauge said Hajdukovich’s sold for an even $1,000.

JT Osborn hit an empty-net, unassisted shot as the game came to a close to give the Ice Dogs the 2-point win.

Steve Perry was between the pipes for Fairbanks and saw 24 shots. The Ice Dogs rained down almost double the number of shot the Brown Bears did, as Kenai River goalie Mathias Dhalstrom made 38 saves against 40 shots.

The Ice Dogs travel to Wasilla to take on the Avalanche Feb. 25 and 26.

“We’ve got this off week and then we’re on the road,” Hauge said. “It will be nice to get a little healthy and rest a little bit.”

Contact staff writer Renee Thony at 459-7583.

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